On Saturday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers fell at home to the Kentucky Wildcats 84-79, dealing a devastating blow to Mizzou’s NCAA Tournament hopes. With a weak schedule and playing in a weak conference, the Tigers blew one of their only remaining chances to get a quality win.
Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson both had incredible performances, finishing with 33 and 28 points respectively, but the much more well-rounded Kentucky squad proved to be too much with four players scoring at least 14. The Tigers came into the game with an impressive 43-2 record at home under Frank Haith, but the home court wasn’t enough to help get their first win against the Wildcats. With the loss, they fell to 0-6 all-time against Kentucky.
Missouri gave a valiant effort, cutting a 16-point second-half deficit down to three inside of a minute left, but close isn’t going to help their resume very much. The Tigers are now 4-4 in the SEC (16-5 overall), and have their last two chances for quality wins in their next two contests when they face the Florida Gators and Ole Miss Rebels on the road next week.
If the Tigers can’t win at least one of those and add a strong finish the rest of the way, they can pretty much say goodbye to the big dance, barring a miracle SEC Tournament run. With no wins against teams currently in the top-25, what Missouri does next is critical. It’s now or never for the Tigers if they want to make their sixth straight NCAA Tournament.